Around the world, more than 140 million people suffer from lymphoedema, which is also lymphatic oedema. The condition is characterised by localised fluid retention and swelling of tissue that can be extremely painful; several treatments and condition management solutions exist and there is much research being done into improving these and creating new strategies.
The lymphatic system, when working correctly, returns interstitial fluid to the thoracic duct, from where it is dispersed through the bloodstream. When compromised, this fluid cannot be returned and so begins to build up in the affected area, causing severe swelling, discoloured skin, restricted blood flow and associated pain.
The condition is sometimes inherited or caused by birth defects, though is frequently found in patients with parasitic infections and those undergoing treatment for cancer. There is currently no known cure to the progressive condition and so treatment is currently confined to ameliorating the symptoms.
Facts and Figures
- In women, lymphoedema is most prevalent in the upper limbs after surgery for breast cancer
- Between 38% and 89% of women having breast cancer treatment (particularly axillary lymph node dissection and/or radiation) will experience some degree of lymphoedema
- The condition occurs in up to 41% of women after gynaecologic cancer
- In men, lymphoedema has a 5-66% incidence (depending on staging/radical removal of lymph glands in addition to radiotherapy)
- The hereditary form of lymphoedema is known as Milroy’s disease and is caused by genetic mutation
- Congenital lymphoedema is often syndromic and is associated with various conditions including Turner/yellow nail/Klippel–Trénaunay–Weber syndromes
After manual lymphatic drainage is carried out and the limb is reduced in volume, compressive bandaging can offer a host of benefits to sufferers of lymphoedema. The reduction is maintained by the dynamic compression, helping to control swelling and minimise any possible complications.
Compression garments, used to alleviate the symptoms of lymphoedema as well as a host of other conditions, have vast potential to dramatically increase the chance of a positive patient outcome. Jobskin offer access to a full complement of such garments and are committed to further research in this and several other areas, consistently improving the quality and efficiency of our products.